The state's legislators have determined the name FSD is misleading and potentially dangerous.
California very recently passed a new law that bans Tesla from calling its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software by that name. First reported by Teslarati, California lawmakers determined that the name FSD could result in a "reasonable person" thinking the software allows a vehicle to become fully autonomous. The reality is that FSD is a more advanced version of Autopilot, and is rated at Level 2 on the autonomous vehicle scale, with Level 5 indicating no human intervention is required at all.
The new legislation, Senate Bill 1398, which has already been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, will take effect in 2023 and was sponsored by Democratic State Senator Lena Gonzalez.
It will also ban the state's car dealers and other automakers from "deceptively naming or marketing" any vehicle as self-driving if it comes equipped with any sort of semi-autonomous features that still require human drivers to pay attention to the road while driving. The bill received sponsorship following the California Department of Motor Vehicles declaring that FSD was "false advertising."
The latest news should not come as a big surprise. Last September, we reported that the Golden State was considering the FSD name ban despite Tesla's disclaimer on its official website listing the software's limitations. Unfortunately, not all owners are not abiding by that, thus forcing state lawmakers to take action. As usual, Tesla could not be reached for comment since it shut down its media relations department a couple of years ago.
Tesla has been facing a number of legal problems regarding both Autopilot and FSD, specifically investigations by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
FSD is currently a $15,000 option for a Tesla vehicle, whether it's a fully-loaded Model S Plaid or the cheapest Model 3. Officially rated at Level 2+, several serious accidents might have been the result of drivers not using it as instructed.
On Tesla's website, it states that FSD "is designed to be able to conduct short and long-distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver's seat. The future use of these features without supervision is dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers, as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions."
What will be interesting is whether or not additional states follow California's lead with similar legislation against FSD.